Mali hotel 'attacked by gunmen' in Bamako

November 20, 2015, 9:23am

Radisson Blu Hotel's website says it provides upscale lodging close to many government offices and business sites

By BBC News

Gunmen have launched an attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in the centre of Mali's capital, Bamako, witnesses say.

"Apparently it's an attempt to take hostages. The police are there and are sealing off the area," a security source told Reuters news agency.

Automatic weapon fire could be heard from outside the 190-room hotel, AFP reports. BBC Afrique's Abdourahmane Dia says the US-owned hotel is popular with expats working in Mali.

In August, suspected Islamist gunmen killed 13 people, including five UN workers, during a hostage siege at a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare.

The US embassy in Bamako has tweeted that it "is aware of an ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel".

All US citizens were asked "to shelter in place" and "encouraged to contact their families". "It's all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor," a security source told AFP.